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FAFSA Completion on the Rise

August 16, 2022

Completion rates for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid have increased slightly after a four-year decline, reaching 70 percent in academic year 2021–22, a 2 percent increase from the year prior. However, a report found that misconceptions and confusion about the FAFSA prevented many families from applying.

The report by Sallie Mae, a private student loan lender, and Ipsos, a global market research company, found that only 53 percent of families know that all students are eligible to send in the FAFSA, and 75 percent of families did not know that the FAFSA was available in October.

Wealthier families were more likely to cite misconceptions about the FAFSA for their reason for not applying. The study found that 36 percent of families did not apply because they believed their income was too high. Of this group, 75 percent had annual incomes over $150,000.

Lower-income families, those making under $50,000 annually, were more likely to cite confusion as their reason for not applying. This included 28 percent of families who did not know about the FAFSA, 25 percent who said they had issues with the application and 23 percent who missed the deadline.

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Meghan Brink

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